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Adopting a dog over the holidays and why it can be a good idea

The holiday season is the perfect time for some people to add a new dog to their family.

Adults are often able to take time off from work. Kids of all ages are home from school for a few weeks. A lot of families spend the holidays at home, without visitors.

When you look at it that way, the holidays sound like the perfect time to add a new family member. I wrote about the topic last year here.

This is certainly not the case for all of us, and adding a new pet is obviously something that should be well thought out. Still, it works well for some.

Today I am sharing three examples of families who are adopting a dog over the holidays this year.

Anne Michelsen and her coonhound mix Melvin

[quote_center]”For us, adopting over the holiday was helpful.”[/quote_center]

Aster & Melvin 11-23-14

Funny Melvin 12-9-14Anne Michelsen adopted a 1-year-old coonhound mix from her local shelter right before Thanksgiving.

“For us, adopting over the holiday was helpful because my teenage daughter (pictured), who is very good with animals, was able to stay at home with him for several days,” Michelsen said.

“Adopting a new dog always takes a bit of adjustment, and it was helpful for her to be there full time during the first few days of the transition.”

Michelsen would like to remind potential adopters that a new dog will always “turn your life upside down” temporarily.

“If the holidays stress you out, adding a dog at that time could put you over the top,” she said.

Another thing to consider is whether or not you’re having guests over and if they are used to dogs.

Karen Hopp and her Doberman Ranger

Karen Hopp and her family also adopted a dog over Thanksgiving.

“His previous owner couldn’t give him the attention and exercise he needed, and we were lucky to have found our amazing Ranger,” she said. “The long holiday weekend was a great time to bring him home, as we got to spend a lot of low-key quality time with him so everyone was really comfortable.”

Ranger the Doberman

She said she met Ranger a few weeks before Thanksgiving and took time getting to know him, even meeting him with a trainer to see if he would be OK around young children and other dogs.

[quote_left]”You have the downtime to really get to know your new pet.”[/quote_left]For others thinking about adopting over the holidays, she said it’s perfect if you’re planning to just relax and spend time at home.

“You have the downtime to really get to know your new pet,” she said.

She also said she’s really glad she adopted a 2-year-old dog vs. a puppy because she has two young children and it’s been nice that Ranger is already housebroken, socialized and comfortable with kids.

“I can’t tell you how happy I am to have gone with Ranger,” she said. “While puppies are irresistibly cute, they are so much more work.”

Liz Kleweno and Aeon the Jack Russell terrier

Liz Kleweno will be adopting a senior Jack Russell terrier named Aeon from a friend who’s moving out of the country.

While Kleweno hadn’t specifically planned on adopting a dog over the holidays, she said it’s going to work out. This is a dog she’s taken care of in the past, and she had told her friend Aeon would have a home if the need ever came up.

And while Kleweno said she is a little worried about adding a third dog to her household, she expects it to work out fine. Her other two dogs, D.O.G. and Missy, are pictured waiting for the new arrival!

D.O.G. and Missy

For others considering adoption now or any time of year, Kleweno recommends family members talk about the decision a lot.

“Make sure everyone is ready for the animal,” she said.

To her, there are advantages and disadvantages to getting a new dog during the holidays in general.

[quote_right]”Make sure everyone is ready for the animal.”[/quote_right]For example, since she lives in Alaska, the cold is a factor.

“If it’s good and cold, I think it’s a little difficult because you don’t want to be out in the cold, and I think potty training is a little more difficult,” she said.

Yet, she said an advantage of adopting an older dog over the holidays is that the dog has probably experienced a holiday or two. Plus, an older dog is likely already potty trained.

“Another thing, if you are getting a puppy, maybe don’t go all out on Christmas decorating this year, because do you really want the puppy to get into it?”

She suggested if you don’t want something damaged, don’t take it out!

Have any of you ever adopted a dog around this time of year?

Also, sign up for That Mutt’s newsletter here for my emails about training, living with dogs and more. You’ll hear from me about twice per month.

Beth | Daily Dog Tag

Wednesday 17th of December 2014

We seem to add pets during the summer because the kids are out of school then. I think adding a pet to the family over the holidays would be a perfect time for some families.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 17th of December 2014

Yes, the summer would be a good time as well. Then again, it would be too busy for some. Every family is different, depending on schedules and so on.


Monday 15th of December 2014

We always hear people say to never adopt a dog over the holidays or get a dog for Christmas, but for many people it is the perfect time for them to welcome a new family member.


Sunday 14th of December 2014

Mom adopted her last dog on December 28, 19XX. She said it was not a big deal, but within minutes of coming home, the tree had to come down. Trine was a lab/newf mix, about 16 mo. old and that wagging big tail sent ornaments flying like baseballs in batting practice! Other than that, no seasonal problems.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 14th of December 2014

Oh gosh! I can just picture Trine knocking the ornaments off the tree!

Jan K

Sunday 14th of December 2014

We brought Luke home just before Christmas last year. It worked out perfectly for us. My hubby and I were both able to take two weeks off from work to settle him in, since we work retail and that's a time students can fill in for us. Other than winter not being ideal here in New England, as they said in your last story for Alaska, for house training a puppy, it was great! And it was actually good that it got me outside more at a time of year when I tend to hibernate. :)

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 14th of December 2014

Another great example. I'm so glad it worked out so well!


Sunday 14th of December 2014

It's been a very long time since I've gotten a pet over the holidays, but my first cat when I was a kid was a Christmas present from my parents. I didn't wake up to a kitten on Christmas morning, but rather my mom took me to various adoption events leading up to and following Christmas until we found a suitable cat. It worked out really well and Big Puddy had a great life and passed away just last year. I would definitely consider getting a dog over the holidays now that I'm an adult. I've noticed some rescues seem to like the idea, too. German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County has been posting these cute pictures of some puppies they have in Santa hats and mentioning they will be ready to be adopted by Christmas.

Lindsay Stordahl

Sunday 14th of December 2014

That's great to hear about the German shepherd rescue. The Lab rescue I've been volunteering with is also really encouraging holiday adoptions, marketing the dogs as "a great Christmas present to yourself."